<a href="http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blogs/julie#">Green challenges</a>

Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

What can one person do to make a difference?

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Has this situation happened to you? You’re chatting with friends over dinner or a coffee, and you’ve gotten onto the topic of various problems in the world. Pollution, or waste, or something like that. And you’re talking about the things that need to be done to fix this problem, and then one of your friends says “Yeah, but what can one person do about it? It’s too big for us to do anything”.

I find that kind of statement very frustrating. And worse, sometimes I worry that it’s actually right! One person (or a dinner-table full of people) can’t fix global warming all by themselves - it’s a massive task and needs a global response. The same goes for biodiversity, and deforestation, and all the other issues we face.

But what is a global response, really? It’s action that comes from many nations on our planet. And what’s a national action about? It’s a government reacting to pressure from citizen lobby groups. And those groups are made up of ordinary people like me and you. Just people who decided that even if they couldn’t fix the whole world, they were going to take care of their own little corner of it.

Most environmental groups are made up of volunteers chipping in a bit of time to help out with little projects. Maybe they’re cleaning up a wetlands area near their house, maybe they’re submitting a proposal to a local council to stop pollution on the beach so they can take their kids there next summer.

“Think global, act local” has been an eco-friendly saying for decades now, because it works. If everyone gave a little time to help out on a small project in their own community, then we’d be taking care of a lot of places! And our efforts will build up into something with a bigger impact: it would prove to politicians that Aussies do care about the environment and want real solutions.

Today’s volunteer opportunity:
Landcare and Coastcare are a national network of thousands of locally-based community groups who care for our country. Each group works on a project like weeding a patch of bushland or educating communities on composting or native plants. They’ve got a strong rural and regional presence and value their grassroots “hands-on” attitude. One of their Queensland groups has just won an award for eradicating a water weed!